Book Review: The Witch’s Ointment by Thomas Hatsis

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Full Title:  The Witch’s Ointment:  The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic

Author:  Thomas Hatsis

Publisher:  Park Street Press

Pages:  304

Release Date:  August 24th, 2015

Please note:  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I receive no compensation for my book reviews other than a courtesy advanced copy from the publisher, to whom I make no promises regarding the ultimate inclination of my summary.  The freedom to hand-select books and discuss them honestly without feeling pressure to “color it rosy” is considerably more valuable to me—-and hopefully, to you.

What makes this book interesting:

Rarely does a book about pagan history rise to the level of a scholarly work that is simultaneously readable and meticulously researched.  The Witch’s Ointment is both.

Packed with rich details on the history of the elusive, mysterious, infamous use of flying ointment in the practice of witchcraft, The Witch’s Ointment is a satisfying, enlightening account of how this special potion descended through folklore .

It is impossible not to be delighted by Hatsis’ colorful retelling of biographical accounts about early historical witches like Matteuccia de Francesco and Madam Oriente.

The Witch’s Ointment openly references a number of historical documents that are frankly quite unflattering to the early Christian church.  However, the self-righteous tone too often (and unfortunately)  adopted by pagan scholars with respect to Christianity is refreshingly absent.

This book is not for you if:

You’re looking for a how-to guide on making flying ointments.  You won’t find any reliable recipes in here, only vague historical ingredients that I doubt the author himself would advise using casually.

Final Verdict:  Absolutely pick this one up if you have an interest in alchemy, historical witchcraft or would like to read an in depth study of flying ointment.

Set aside an afternoon to be swept away into the land of mythical creatures and enchanted forests that colored the folklore of the Middle Ages.

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